It’s Fire Prevention Week this week, and from Oct. 6-12 the State Fire Marshal’s Office is joining forces with the National Fire Protection Association to remind local residents to “Prevent Kitchen Fires.” During this year’s fire safety campaign, fire departments will be spreading the word about the dangers of kitchen fires—most of which result from unattended cooking—and teaching local residents how to prevent kitchen fires from starting in the first place.
According to the latest NFPA research, cooking is the leading cause of home fires. Two out of every five home fires begin in the kitchen—more than any other place in the home. Many of these fires occur within minutes of residents leaving the kitchen.
“Cooking fires are the second leading cause of fatal fires in Tennessee so far this year,” said State Fire Marshal Julie Mix McPeak. “Fifteen percent of fire victims died from fires caused by cooking. To prevent these tragedies, we must be mindful in the kitchen.”
Among the safety tips that firefighters and safety advocates are emphasizing:
- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, broiling, or boiling food.
- If you must leave the room, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- When you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, stay in the home, and use a timer to remind you of when you should take it out.
- If you have young children, use the stove’s back burners whenever possible. Keep children and pets at least three away from the stove.
- When you cook, wear clothing with tight-fitting sleeves.
- Keep potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper and plastic bags, towels, and anything else that can burn away from your stovetop.
- Clean up food and grease from burners and stovetops.
- If a small pan fire occurs, put on an oven mitt and carefully slide the pan’s lid onto the pan to smother the flames. Turn off the burner and do not remove the lid until the pan is completely cool. Never pour water on a grease fire!
- When in doubt, just get out! If the fire is large or you do not feel comfortable smothering it with the lid, quickly exit the home and call the fire department. Close doors behind you to try to contain the fire.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office urges Tennesseans to have working smoke alarms installed in their homes and to develop and practice a home fire escape plan with two ways out of every room and a common outside meeting place.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office is a division of the Department of Commerce and Insurance, which works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee.